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THE INC. LIFE

Why Richard Branson Wants Elon Musk to Get Some Sleep

The maverick entrepreneur had a few words of advice for Tesla’s founder.

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BY Guadalupe Gonzalez - 09 Oct 2018

Why Richard Branson Wants Elon Musk to Get Some Sleep

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

It's not just Arianna Huffington. Richard Branson also wants Elon Musk to get some sleep.

The founder of the Virgin Group, which controls over 400 companies, shared a few words of advice for the troubled Musk, who is currently facing an avalanche of lawsuits and a $20 million fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission after he tweeted on August 7 that he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private at $420 per share.

"I think he maybe needs to learn the art of delegation," Branson said, speaking to CNBC in Singapore Tuesday. "He's got to find time for himself, he's got to find time for his health and for his family. He's a wonderfully creative person but he shouldn't be getting very little sleep. He should find a fantastic team of people around him."

Branson, who competes with Musk on space tourism and transportation--and is preparing to go into space himself in the next few months--said the reason he's lived a long and "enjoyable life" is because he'd been able to find people to run his companies and only get involved on the "key issues." He also admitted that he had already spoken to the Tesla founder about it. "Learning the art of delegation better would be his one flaw," Branson said.

Other entrepreneurs have rallied behind Musk in recent months. Mark Cuban called the Tesla CEO to convince him to take the SEC settlement instead of going to court. Thrive founder and sleep ambassador Arianna Huffington penned an open letter to the entrepreneur asking him to change the way he works "to be more in line with the science around how humans are most effective" and take enough downtime to "refuel." To the latter, Musk replied in a tweet at 5:32 a.m.: "Ford & Tesla are the only 2 American car companies to avoid bankruptcy. I just got home from the factory. You think this is an option. It is not."

Per the SEC settlement, in which Musk agreed to pay a $20 million fine, he is barred from serving as chairman of the car maker for three years. Branson would probably argue that those terms aren't so bad. In the past, the entrepreneur has suggested that once a company decides to go public, it's a good idea to find an outside managing director and chairman to run it. Plus, he thinks Musk would probably prefer that anyway. "Don't feel you have to put out tweets about public shareholders, leave the public game to people who enjoy that," Branson adds. "[Musk] obviously doesn't enjoy it, so clear the decks so that you can actually concentrate on the creative side."

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